Almost 500 homes in Centre Wellington are affected by termites

Eradication cost estimated at $1 million over five years: expert

ELORA – It will cost about $1 million over five years to eradicate the termite problem in Centre Wellington and after budgeting just $60,000 annually, that price tag caught Centre Wellington council by surprise at its Committee of the Whole meeting on May 17.

Tim Myles, who leads Termite Research Services Inc., was engaged by the township last fall to conduct a survey to determine the extent of the problem and where the hot spots are in Fergus and Elora.

In presenting the results, Myles said 478 properties are either in a termite zone or adjacent to one, “and it was a surprise to see how extensive this is,” he told councillors.

“You’ve put aside $60,000 but that’s quite a bit short of what I’d need.”

Myles found termites in 119 properties in eight clusters in Elora and 140 properties in one cluster in Fergus. Adjacent properties might not have termite activity at present, but they require the same treatments as affected properties to truly eradicate termites, he said.

Myles had success in Guelph and other communities with termite problems over his 30-year career, but he is considering retiring, and doesn’t want to take on such a big job.

That was another blow for council to hear.

Myles said he’s currently working in Elmira where 139 properties have termites, “and the scale (in Centre Wellington) is five times what I had hoped.

“I think it’s too much for me.”

Myles said he has developed a system that is broadly available, but not many termite control companies use his method.

Myles uses borates and nematode sprays to control the termite population, while at the same time removing food sources and habitat – i.e. dead wood – from properties in identified termite zones. In some cases chemical treatments would also be required.

“It’s critical for this approach to do it area-wide,” he said.

Up until now, individual homeowners have dealt with termites at their own expense, but that only moves a colony and doesn’t eradicate it. And the cost of individual treatments is around $5,000.

Myles suggested homeowners in or beside termite zones should get rid of all dead wood on their property including tree stumps, downed branches and logs, wooden art in the garden, and wood chip mulch.

“The dead stumps are the nesting sites, and the red carpet is wood chip mulch. That’s the invitation in,” he said.

The report was received for information and staff will work with Myles to figure out phasing, budgeting and a plan of attack before returning to council for approvals.

“This is not great news, but it’s good to know how it really is,” said Mayor Kelly Linton.

“Stay tuned for more.”